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Ventana Sur: IFF Panama, Copa Airlines Announce In-Flight Partnership

IFF will curatE a special selection of IFF Panama titles to slot in with the already available content on the ariline's long-haul flights starting in January

Ventana Sur: IFF and Copa Airlines
Edison Sánchez / IFF Panamá

The International Film Festival of Panama (IFF Panama), in keeping with international trends, has signed a distribution deal with Copa Airlines, Panama’s flag carrier.

In April 2014, United Airlines and Tribeca first announced a sponsorship deal which saw the festival curating a selection of films which could be viewed on long-distant flights, while Cannes Film Festival has long been partners with Air France, who boast “the best cinema worldwide” on board their flights. For Latin America however, the Panama deal is groundbreaking.

According to IFF Panama director Pituka Ortega-Heilbron, speaking at Ventana Sur, Copa Airlines will have a catalog of more than 75 films to draw from for its dedicated IFF Panama channel. She further elaborated that the number is expected to increase each year.

The first three films which will be available in January were announced at the market: “Salsipuedes,” Ricardo Aguilar Navarro and Manuel Rodríguez’s immigration drama; “Carpinteros,” José Maria Cabral’s prison love story-thriller and this year’s Dominican submission for the foreign-language Academy Award; and Alberto Rodríguez’s Spanish cop corruption action-thriller “Unit 7,” a major hit at Tribeca which also received a staggering 16 nominations at the Spanish Academy Goya Awards, and broke out to substantial foreign markets such as Russia.

For the first year, 11 films will be screening, with the selection rotating every three months.

Gustavo Esusy, regional manager at Copa Airlines, said the channel would first be available on longer flights, on planes with individual screens, or about one-third of the fleet. The airline expects that number to increase as more planes are fitted with their own screens.

At the press conference Esusy addressed the importance of the pact: “This is an unprecedented alliance in Latin America that will allow Copa Airlines passengers to enjoy this kind of cinema that is so loved, but doesn’t always reach the audience.”

Ortega-Heilbron shared a similar sentiment: “We believe that cinema is the most powerful medium for artistic expression of our time,” she said, adding: “We want these films to be seen, and we hope that other airlines follow suit. We are thankful for Copa’s Vision.”